10 skills in sales needed for success

Does your team have the skills in sales necessary for success? Effective selling involves more than scripts, tactics, and techniques. It also involves a mindset that drives success. That said, some skills in sales can be learned or improved through training and practice – so it pays to give your sales staff the training and support to help them succeed. Do you know what skills are most beneficial to sales success?

10 Skills in Sales Needed for Success

“Succeeding in today’s economic environment requires sales professionals to be skilled, focused, disciplined, and accountable.” Charles Anderson told us during a recent BLR webinar. He gave us 10 key skills in sales needed to succeed.

Top performing sales professionals:

  1. Build trust. Building trust can be a surprisingly simple thing – yet it is anything but easy. Trust is a complex concept in human relationships. Trust is a two-sided relationship: one person trusts, and the other person is trusted. “Trust is the foundation for achieving the best possible outcome with a buyer.” Anderson explained.
  2. Build rapport and maintain healthy relationships. Rapport occurs when two or more people feel that they are in sync or on the same wavelength because they feel similar or relate well to each other. Sales research has shown that without rapport it’s difficult to close a sale.
  3. Actively listen. There is a real distinction between merely hearing the words and really listening for the message. When we actively listen, we understand what the person is thinking and or feeling from the other person’s own perspective.
  4. Ask meaningful questions. It’s essential to master the skill of asking questions if you are going to build relationships with people, understand them, and understand their businesses. To see someone’s eyes light up, ask them questions and encourage them to talk about things that interest them—namely themselves, their experiences, and their concerns.
  5. Solve problems. The same behaviors and skills that make a good problem solver can make a successful salesperson. It is surprising that many salespeople do not think of themselves as problem solvers for their customers, yet this is what they are doing.
  6. Ask for and obtain commitments. Prospects and customers must prove they are serious buyers through “action” commitments—not just words. The only indication of real commitment is action.
  7. Persuade and influence others. A salesperson must have the power of influence, which is the process of guiding or bringing oneself or another toward the adoption of an idea, attitude, or action by rational and/or emotional means. Three elements that must be developed in order to influence others are appearance, voice and communication style, and positioning.
  8. Perfect business acumen. Business acumen involves linking an insightful assessment of the external business landscape with the keen awareness of how money can be made—and then executing the strategy to deliver the desired results. The word acumen means “keenness and depth of perception,” especially in practical matters.
  9. Manage calendars effectively. Prioritize work for maximum results. Block uninterrupted time to work on sales activities with a high rate of return. Don’t let others steal time. Stay focused on what can be controlled.
  10. Pre-plan and debrief. Pre-meeting planning can help to communicate ideas clearly, and help avoid making mistakes. It’s a good practice to debrief both the wins and the losses, as lessons can be learned from both.

For more information on key skills in sales needed to succeed, order the webinar recording of “Sales Skills for the New Economy: Help Your Sales Team Close More Deals and Bring in More Money.” To register for a future webinar, visit

Charles Anderson is a sales consultant, author, motivational speaker, and personal sales coach with more than 20 years of sales and entrepreneurship experience. He is now the president of the Selling Skills Institute.